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ghostwriter13

Performance halls or lack thereof

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I just enjoyed a fantastic concert from the Jenison High School choral department. They have had great programs in the fine arts for as long as my family can remember - both my mother and I graduated from JHS.

The problem I noticed was that the students weren't performing from a school performance hall, but rather in a church sanctuary in Hudsonville.

I'm bringing this up because there are a great deal of wonderful performance spaces in the area at schools like Caledonia, Forest Hills, Kenowa Hills and that gorgeous space at GR Christian High School. Jenison has a great football stadium and a state of the art swimming pool, but has absolutely no quality space for their award winning choral, band, orchestral, and theatre groups.

Thoughts or comments anyone?

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That school does need a new auditorium in the worst possible way. The music and theater departments there are pretty good and more than deserve a quality space. The current auditorium is sorely inadequate as I am pretty sure it was the original from when the building was constructed in the late 60's. I use to go to the same church as the theater director and I know there have been trying to put together a grassroots movement to start pushing some awareness and possible fundraising but nothing serious as of yet that I know of. I'm sure they'll need a bond to get it to pass though. Logistically, expansion would also be difficult as they are pretty tight for space now and would have to probably build out into the student parking lot. Meaning they will have to replace those spaces by partially building on their old soccer/band practice field.

That said, having recently built a new football stadium, pool, ball diamonds, tennis courts, weight room, auxillary gym, band/choir rooms in the past few years I would say that a new auditorium would have be creeping up on the list of priorities. The only thing stopping it (aside from a no vote) would be the main gymnasium which isn't terrible but it I don't know if it serves the modern needs of the school that well and also has had several problems with a leaky roof over the years.

Fairhaven is a nice little venue but I've often wondered if some sort of communal performance space, even if not related to any of the schools, could possibly work for that part of town wouldn't be of benefit. I always thought the old Handy Andy building (which currently houses a Hobby Lobby, Autozone, and DollarStore) would be a good site. That or a vacant area south of Chicago Drive.

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I saw Michael McDonald last fall at the Forest Hills venue last fall and I was astounded what a first-class facility they have there (as was Mr. McDonald)

Unless it and others are booked back-to-back, it's too bad there cannot be some sort of shared arrangement. While I'm sure the respective programs feel they deserve their own shed, you can buy a lot of bus rides for the 2/3/4 million dollars it takes to put a house like that together.

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Central High on Fountain has an amazingly gorgeous auditorium with hardwood trim all over the place and restored seating. We saw it on the Heritage Hill Home tour last year, and were blown away.

I've never heard of it being used as a venue for anything though. I would imagine the sound/lighting systems and backstage areas are not adequate, and that is why it's not used? It's a beautiful space though.

Forest Hills does have a fantastic facility. Too bad we can't ride there very easily.

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I'm an A/V technician and have worked at a few venues around town. I'm hoping that some day I'll be able to work the new "GrandJenVille" Auditorium. There's a lot of great talent on the west side of town that could use a good place to go whether it's schools or local talent

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for the 2/3/4 million dollars it takes to put a house like that together.

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